Tuesday, 23 October 2007

'What's wrong with South Africans?' Oops.

My father’s an impatient fellow. He’s the master of the snappy response and expects the same in return. And he’d rather have his eyes sucked out by a giant squid than stand in a queue.

So you can imagine his frustration when he rushed into the bank early on a Saturday morning to cash a cheque and was confronted by a veritable boa constrictor of people.

Sighing loudly with impatience, he joined the back of the queue, no doubt huffing and puffing and craning his neck to see what the hold-up was, and probably shuffling forward a little too close to the person in front of him and making everyone a lot more tense than they needed to be.

Twenty minutes later he finally got his turn at the cashier. He slapped the cheque down on the counter and said, ‘I need to cash this, quick.’

The cashier looked at it long and hard. She turned it over and looked at the other side. Then she slid it back over the counter to my father and said, ‘Sorry, sir, I can’t cash this…’

Before she could say another word, my father did a passable impression of an exocet (which, for those who may not know, is a tactical missile with a high-explosive warhead).

WHAT???!’ he screamed, loud enough to cause the entire queue behind him to sway back, like a very subtle Mexican wave.

‘THIS IS A PERFECTLY GOOD CHEQUE!’ my father yelled. ‘It’s got the right date on! It’s crossed! It’s signed! The figures match the written words! And you tell me you can’t cash it?’

‘Yes, sir,’ said the cashier, paling and quailing. ‘You see…’

NOW WHAT THE BLOODY HELL IS IT?’ shouted my father. ‘Is it that effing FICA nonsense again? I’ve been FICA’d seventy-seven times! You people make me sick! You really think some international money-launderer is going to stop using you as a country-sized washing machine just because you ask him to show you his bloody ELECTRICITY BILL???!!!’

‘Sir…’

But my father was now on a roll and not to be stopped. He turned to the queue (which was every bit as long as when he’d stepped into the building) and appealed to the people lined up quietly and politely behind him. ‘WHAT’S WRONG WITH SOUTH AFRICANS???’ he remonstrated furiously. ‘We put up with the most unholy shit from our so-called financial institutions’ and here he crooked his fingers into inverted commas so hard you could hear his knuckles crack, ‘and for what? So they can STEAL OUR MONEY, that’s what. So they can give us APPALLING SERVICE, that’s what!’

Then he snatched back his cheque. ‘FINE!’ he barked. ‘DON’T cash it then! Call yourself a BANK?!!!’

‘Actually, sir, we don’t,’ said the cashier. ‘You’re in the Post Office.’

(This is a true story.)

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2 comments:

meggie said...

Wiping tears from my eyes! I can just picture it all.
You have no idea how much I needed such a laugh this morning.

angel said...

oh no muriel... i'm gpoing to be giggling all day!!! asthma inhaler warning PLEEEEEAAAASE!!!